Debunking the Top Myths About Online Degrees

Monday, November 4, 2019

Pursuing a degree in higher education is a strategy to enriching one’s personal and professional life. Earning a degree online is a flexible and convenient way for full-time, working professionals to earn their degree. That being said, it is quite common for people to dismiss online degrees as less valid than degrees that are earned in the traditional, in-person contact form. We are here to discuss—and bust—these myths about online degrees!

Are you thinking about earning a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree online, interested in pursuing a doctorate/doctoral degree or PhD online, wondering if an online certificate program will help boost your employee appeal to potential employers BUT are you also worried about what people think about online degrees? There are several negative connotations and stereotypes that people have regarding online degrees. 

Online Degree Myth No. 1: You are all alone.
False! It is true that online career options require a high level of personal responsibility and independence. However, it does not mean that you are alone and without resources. Whether the degree you are completing is a bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or online certificate, you will need to be largely independent when it comes to scheduling your own personal time. You will have modules that you can start at any time you want, as opposed to traditional meeting schedules and places. 

You may expect to spend a lot of time alone with your computer but this does not mean that you do not have a classroom community. Today’s online learning platforms are well-designed and use chat rooms, forums, and 1:1 instructor feedback in order to provide an online community learning space. 

Online Degree Myth No. 2: Prospective employers do not take your online degree seriously.
As long as you are earning your online degree from accredited and reputable institution, prospective employers will hold your online bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree with the same respect that they hold a traditional in-person bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree.

Do be careful about colleges or universities that are known as large, for-profit “diploma mills” that church out diplomas. Make sure to do adequate research regarding your online college or online university.

Online Degree Myth No. 3: You cannot form relationships with your professors. 
It is more than possible to develop strong relationships with professors are you earn your bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate/doctoral degree online. 

There are several ways to get in contact with an online learning professor. You can use phone calls, texting, email, instant messaging, group work, and chat. Several online learning environments and learning management system (LMS) platforms have online learning tools and faculty profiles and blogs incorporated into the curriculum. This gives students access to contact with their professor.

What is our piece of advice? If developing relationships with your professors is important to you, as it probably should be, ask college and university students and staff what their experience has been like forming relationships in the respective college or university’s online learning forums. Their answers should give you a good idea of how interactive that college or university’s online classroom environment is.
Online Degree Myth No. 4: Online learning classes are easier.
This is a huge misperception. Online degrees learning environments and virtual classrooms have standards that are just as rigorous as traditional learning environments and traditional classrooms. Coursework, if you are studying an online program at a reputable college or university, will be equally challenging regardless of whether you are taking the class online or in person. 

Online Degree Myth No. 5: Online learning degrees are not “real” degrees. 
As long as you are pursuing your online career at a college, university, or institution that is accredited at both regional and national levels, your degree is completely valid. This is where you need to be careful and make sure that the online institution you attend is accredited at those levels. 

In order to be an accredited institution, a college or university needs to have been evaluated and validated by a reputable third-party agency. This agency assures that the college or university meets education standards. Check the U.S. Department of Education website at in order to check if the college or university of your interest is an accredited institution. 

If you are thinking about pursuing higher education online, do not allow the negative stereotypes and connotations to keep you from doing so! It is not uncommon to hear people say that online degrees are not reputable but this is far from the truth.

What is our biggest piece of advice? Make sure that you earn your online degree from an accredited college or university. 

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